Apple’s iPad: What does this mean for the future of Web 2.0 and Google Docs?

With the unveiling of Apple’s long-awaited tablet-style computer, educators are likely already wondering how this will affect the landscape of teaching and learning? I’m not sure what everyone else has had in mind, but here’s just my my vision for my class, once I get a technology grant (here’s hoping) to get a classroom set of these:

  • Tablets are easier to use on smaller student desktops than laptops have been
  • Students can toggle easily between using a stylus to hand-write notes, or the keyboard to type
  • Google docs becomes even more widely used in schools.
  • Textbook companies sell all books in iBook format, and students read text Kindle-style
  • Students use earplugs to assist them in reading
  • Students use wiki-style collaboration to create real-time documents and projects
  • The $500 price-point opens doors to one-per-child initiative (in my class at least)
  • Students can present on the big screen or smart board wirelessly from their tablet
  • Students can easily use quiz software (or Google forms) for assessments
  • Students can access from home while ill and access the entire content remotely
  • Students see the tablet as an extension of their book bag, rather than an alternative to it
  • Students will even more seamlessly integrate applications and tools into daily tasks

Sure, the case could be made that most of the items listed above would be no different on a laptop. Nevertheless, the laptop is twice as expensive in most cases, and may not run all the software apps that are available for the iPhone/tablet. Furthermore, the technology at work in the iPad (and certainly in future generations of tablets) is, as I currently understand it, quite different from the typical notebook. Time will certainly tell whether this new offering is a slick gadget which find new ways to do the same things, or if it takes computing in entirely new ways. Regardless of how it is received, I believe it will make classroom computing even more fresh and convenient, and therefore something I look forward to trying out!


4 thoughts on “Apple’s iPad: What does this mean for the future of Web 2.0 and Google Docs?

  1. Great post – I've been looking around the blogsphere all evening seeing if anyone is thinking about the possibilities of iPads in education. I believe the potential is enormous.I have taught high school courses in media design technology (everything from using Photoshop up to 3D animation and web design) and physical sciences (chemistry, astronomy, etc.), and I'm currently working on a project to develop student-created video podcasts on the history, uses, mining, refining, and hazards of the chemical elements. My media students for the last two years have traveled to various mining and chemical manufacturing sites in central Utah and interviewed scientists, engineers, and historians about the sites, then edited the footage into podcast episodes as part of their digital video unit. They've had to learn technical writing, communication and collaboration (we used wikis to collaborate with subject experts at the sites and build the background scripts). I'm finishing up the editing on these now, for uploading to iTunes over the next few months (the first ones go up next week). Like you, my main challenge now is funding – I am applying for grant money that can be farmed out to high school teachers so that they can buy the cameras and video software this will require. If you have any advice on any funding sources, please let me know. In addition to funding, I'm also looking for teachers at the high school level who would like to collaborate on this project; perhaps even have their students participate either in creating the video content themselves or acting as beta testers for the scripts as they're written by students and for the finished episodes when uploaded.If you'd like to find out more on what this project is about, I've got my own blog and my e-mail is:elementsunearthed@gmail.comNow that the iPad is coming, I feel even more urgency to get this project off the ground. The iPad will be the perfect platform for it.-David V. Black

  2. I'm also interested in getting iPads for my middle school. I wonder if Google Docs will work better on the iPad than it does on the iPod touch / iphone.. What other apps are you considering using on the iPad in class?

  3. I have used google docs a few times on the iPad, if you use desktop version, spreadsheets are available and you ucan create and edit forms. Spreadsheets can also be downloaded to numbers. See my blog at for more details and more thoughts and how to's for iPad

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